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November 21, 2003

Kids in the 'Hood

Penny is busy today preparing for tomorrow's big move to the East side--so busy that she doesn't have time to post anything tonight, so here I sit. Thinking, thinking. It's after midnight, and my mind is a complete blank. So I decide to surf around a bit and find some information about the new neighbourhood she is moving into, and I come across this site: The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. No surprise here, since you're bound to run across sites on addiction, immigration, prostitution, and homelessness when you do a keyword search on "east vancouver demographics."

However, I was surprised by what I read on the site: November 16-22 is National Drug and Addiction Awareness Week. Who knew? Not many people here, I suppose, since no activities have been planned this year in BC. Zero. Zilch. The same goes for last year. This seems very strange to me, since BC is known for many things, including its high rate of illicit drug use, and BC citizens often pride themselves on being socially and environmentally active.

From a 2001 report on BC street youth:

Between June and December, 2000 the McCreery Centre Society of B.C. conducted a survey of street youth, and in 2001 reported on their findings in a profile of B.C. street youth. A convenience sample of 523 youth under age 19 (145 from Vancouver; 94 from Victoria; 28% of the total self-identified as Aboriginal) identified through community services were interviewed about their needs, behaviours and circumstances within that survey.

The key findings of the McCreery Report include the following:

· Nearly two-thirds of street youth in Vancouver and a third of street youth in Victoria come from other provinces in Canada

· About half of street youth see themselves as having an addiction problem

· Of those stating they have an addiction problem, 60% say they have another diagnosis

· Street youth have very high rates of risky behaviour, including drug, alcohol and tobacco use and unprotected sex. Risky behaviours often began at a very early age

· Over a quarter of the B.C. street youth interviewed attempted suicide in the past year

· Most street youth have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse (50% of males and 65% of females)

· Many are involved in the sex trade

· Over half of street youth have been charged with or convicted of a crime, and nearly half have spent time in a custody center

· 13% said they have a child or children of their own

· 29% reported that they first used marijuana before age 11

· 72% of males and 62% of females have used marijuana 100 or more times

· 48% of Vancouver street youth and 65% of Victoria street youth reported using marijuana 40 or more times in the past month

· 27% were less than 9 years old when they first used alcohol

· 9% drank alcohol on 20 or more days in the last month

· 19% of street youth surveyed in Vancouver had been binge drinking 10 or more days in the previous month

· In Vancouver and Victoria, respectively, 72% and 73% had ever used cocaine; 50% and 43% had ever used heroin; and, 30% and 28% had ever injected an illegal drug

· In Vancouver and Victoria, respectively, 45% and 41% had used cocaine ten or more times; 28% and 24% had used heroin 10 or more times; and, 22% and 24% had injected an illegal drug 10 or more times

· 31% of street youth – 46% of girls and 18% of boys – reported that they have been forced to have sex

· Overall, 15% of youth said they had been refused alcohol and drug treatment services at some time (23% in Vancouver).


Note: Penny's new digs are approximately 15 minutes away from the downtown eastside, which is where most of Vancouver's street kids can be found. Nevertheless, in this town, East is East and West is West. So it's so long Penny, Ken, and Ollie. I guess we'll be seeing you soon on the "other" side!

Posted by tomi at 11:48 PM in Social Activism | Permalink


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Yes, we ARE on the EASTside but YOU are closer to Skid Row.

See Sunday's post for a recap of The Move...

Posted by: penny | Nov 23, 2003 4:12:01 PM

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